Nicole Eisenman and the triumph of painting

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Just about every piece in Nicole Eisenman’s nobly minatory exhibition “Al-ugh-ories” at the New Museum, up through June 26, pulses with aesthetic energy, turbocharged by a peripatetic erudition that darts assuredly from one caustic historical (sometimes art-historical) reference point to another. The artist is centrally, though not exclusively, concerned with … read more… “Nicole Eisenman and the triumph of painting”

Art and Film: Robert Cenedella’s legitimacy

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Victor Kanefsky’s effervescent documentary Art Bastard casts 76-year old New York painter Robert Cenedella as a kind of aesthetic Robin Hood who robs from hallowed art tradition to give ordinary people bravura paintings that don’t require them to plumb art history or some other arcane discipline to appreciate. Cenedella counts … read more… “Art and Film: Robert Cenedella’s legitimacy”

Art and Film: Children as materials in The Family Fang

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Artists’ instrumentalization of their children in their work intuitively seems to breach the parental duty of protection, and to exploit their youth at the risk of maladjustment. Sally Mann’s infamously risqué deployment of her sometimes naked children in her photographs is well short of pedophilic, often disruptively revelatory and moving, … read more… “Art and Film: Children as materials in The Family Fang”

Amy Lincoln: Twilight zone

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Luminous, though an overused adjective in art writing, is an apt one for Amy Lincoln’s edgy new paintings, mainly of plants, on display at Morgan Lehman in Chelsea. Their vivid color, exacting line, and exotic detail leap out at the viewer, so that the initial impression is straightforwardly Rousseau-esque, maybe … read more… “Amy Lincoln: Twilight zone”

Art and Film: War and art’s uneasy survival

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Russian director Alexander Sokurov’s Francofonia is a strange and intriguing film – a kind of avant-garde point-of-view documentary. Do not mistake the title for “Francophilia.” With considerable snideness and mockery – including magical realist interventions by a fatuous Napoleon, sardonic intonements of “liberté, egalité, faternité,” and a deadpan delineation of … read more… “Art and Film: War and art’s uneasy survival”

Art on paper – and in practice

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Like VOLTA, the Art on Paper fair on Pier 36 was a modestly gauged and user-friendly alternative to the massive and unwieldy Armory Fair. It also presented consistently rich work from a geographically and stylistically broad range of galleries. Here are a few eye-catching selections. From the Upper East Side … read more… “Art on paper – and in practice”

Paul D’Agostino’s pictorial discursiveness

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Given the demonstrated capability, energy, and ambition of Bushwick artist, gallerist, and all-purpose cultural maven Paul D’Agostino, that he would invent his own visual alphabet – as he has for his new show of paintings “Scriptive Formalities” at Life on Mars – isn’t surprising. A Ph.D. in Italian literature and … read more… “Paul D’Agostino’s pictorial discursiveness”

Art and Film: Thief’s incomparable visual grit

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Michael Mann’s brilliant 1981 neo-noir film Thief – showing in BAM’s February 5-16 Mann retrospective – is paradoxically celebrated for being under-appreciated. Substantively, he makes the one-last-score storyline as ugly-funny as good Tarantino and as tragic as good Polanski, brings out James Caan’s bestial, foulmouthed best, optimizes Tuesday Weld’s off-kilter … read more… “Art and Film: Thief’s incomparable visual grit”

Fred Valentine’s grunge sensibility

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Fred Valentine made his wryly haunting charcoal chiaroscuro drawings of real people “some sweet and tender others damaged and horrific” – on view in “The Pumpkin Festival and other portraits” at Schema Projects in Bushwick – in the early 1990s. That was when Kurt Cobain and kindred spirits’ croaking about … read more… “Fred Valentine’s grunge sensibility”

Art and Fiction: Petrushevskaya and the painter’s whirl

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / If they are successful, artists transport those who view their work to a different visual and psychic environment that nonetheless bears some crucial familiarity to the objective one that most people consciously share. The overlapping frames of reference enable critics, artists, and others to talk about art coherently. That much … read more… “Art and Fiction: Petrushevskaya and the painter’s whirl”